Safety is a top priority in all responsibly managed modern underground mines. Maintaining ongoing productivity is also of vital importance, as without this, the profitability and sustainability of the mine will be negatively impacted.
These two aspects of underground mining are closely linked as they often face similar challenges and are affected by the same situations. An incident or potential risk that is severe enough to threaten the safety of mine personnel will most likely also affect productivity due to evacuation, cleanup operations, or a work stoppage while potential risks are investigated.
Studies indicate that up to 30% of mining accidents occur due to rockfall, mostly in the areas near the entrances to tunnels and working areas. Therefore, one of the keys to minimizing safety risks and reducing productivity loss due to downtime is comprehensive, accurate, and continual monitoring, especially when it comes to ground and strata movement.
The earlier potential risks are identified and acted on, the less likelihood there is of incidents. However, by its very nature, underground mining is a rugged, tough business that often takes place in harsh, inhospitable environments. This can make obtaining information about ground and rock movement very challenging.
Fortunately, modern extensometers for mining use (like the MDT SMART MPBX) provide mine engineers with an easy way to monitor the status and behaviour of rock, soil, and other geological formations within the mine – especially within tunnels and at working faces.
The use of extensometers for mining monitoring has been a popular choice for several decades but has become even more useful in recent times because the new generation of borehole extensometers usually features an electronic readout head that allows them to be connected to a central, preferably wireless, monitoring network.